At RenewableEnergyWorld.com, we’ve had our eye on energy storage for some time. For years we told you that if the industry could solve the energy storage problem, it would unlock gigawatts of renewable energy capacity all over the world. About a year ago, progress started really picking up. At Intersolar in Munich in 2013, more than 200 energy storage companies were present, exhibiting their solutions. As we were setting our 2014 editorial calendar, we realized that the topic had became so hot that we would run at least one story on energy storage in every issue of Renewable Energy World magazine.
Today, it seems that energy storage momentum just can’t be stopped. Our very own Jim Montgomery has published article upon article about energy storage companies from WattJoule to Primus.
Almost every day, I receive another announcement about a new energy storage initiative. Last Friday’s release was about a company in Japan that is about to switch on an innovative commercial-scale storage system on Yume-shima Island in Osaka. According to the company, Sumitomo Corporation, the system will test the smoothing effects of energy storage on the output of the Hikari-no-mori solar farm and will be a world first because the batteries it will be using have been recycled from electric vehicles. The company said that the project was selected as part of the government-sponsored “verification of the battery storage control to promote renewable energy” initiative for fiscal year 2013.
The system will use sixteen used EV batteries that have 600 kW of capacity, capable of producing 400 kWh of electricity. Sumitomo said the batteries have gone through inspection and testing to ensure that they are safe.
This week, I will have the privilege of checking out Alstom’s Nice Grid Project, which the company has been kind enough to invite me to visit. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I’ll be meeting with executives from the Alstom, MaxSine and ERDF, the French Distribution System Operator, to learn about how this demonstration project was created, what renewables are involved and how the project is working so far. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll summarize my findings in an article in our March/April issue. If there’s anything you’d like to know about the Nice Grid Project, let me know in the comments below and I’ll try to ask your questions.